Crossfit Specialty Course: Gymnastics

Crossfit Gymnastics is my third Crossfit Certification and even though its hard to pick favorites, this cert was really freaking rad!  First off, the cert was in Hong Kong.  I took a direct flight (2 hours) from Naha to Hong Kong.  After a thirty minute bus I checked into my hotel (there was a lady playing a harp in the lobby!!)!  That night I scoped out the nearest Starbucks, did a map study, and then hit the sheets.

In the morning, I got my Starbucks and grabbed a taxi to the box.  Destination: Crossfit Asphodel (pronounced: ass fa del).  The taxi pulled up to a building with a very large garage-like opening.  Inside were four employees guarding three elevators who did not speak a lick of English.  I tried pointing at my shoes and shirt and saying “crossfit” slowly but my game of charades got me no where.  Since I was a hearty 30 minutes early I figured if I just walked around looking lost; someone was bound to find me.  Five minutes later a Kool-Aid drinker emerged from the elevators, eyeballed me and said, “11th floor”.  Then he turned to the guards and yelled in Chinese Cantonese.  Next thing I knew I was in an elevator heading to a crossfit gym on the 11th floor of a building.

I was greeted by a coach who introduced himself (I couldn’t hear his name over the butterflies in my stomach), checked his papers and gave me a name tag: I’m in.  There were only 5 other athletes at this point; all of whom seemed to know each other and had no desire to make a new friend.  Within thirty minutes all of the crossfit elements had arrived: beards, knee high socks, lulu lemon booty shorts, tattoos, rok tape, Regionals Tshirt, and a ton of  ridiculously beautiful smiles.

The coaches introduced themselves: Chuck from Florida (AKA gymnastics Jesus), Jen from Perth (Olympic Athlete) and Kevin (imagine: pure fitness meets humble pie) from Boston.  The lead coach, Chuck, asked the group “how many of you are trainers or coaches?  Competitors?  Injured?”  I was the only one without their hands in the air and I couldn’t help but think: man, these people have long arms.  Chuck followed up with a whole spiel on why gymnastics was vital to crossfit, what we could expect from the course, and of course: safety.

When Chuck went through the expectations I started to really get nervous: pull ups, ring dips, levers, planches and muscle ups.  I knew right away I was waaaaaay out of my league. Once we broke free to start our “warm ups”, I pulled Chuck and Jen aside and informed them of my fitness level.  Instead of pointing out the obvious and laughing at me, they literally put their arms around me and reassured me that not only would I benefit from this course, but I have the most to gain.  Well played.

Off I went, trying to keep up.  We went through the basics with a fine toothed comb: bear walk, crab walk, and of course: superman and hollow.  I spent a lot of the weekend as a third wheel, but I didn’t mind.  I felt like I was brushing shoulders with some big dawgs!

The big lesson I learned from the first day: lat activation.  I need to do a whole lot more of this.  I have always thought the biceps were the big player in the pull up and I could never imagine my little guns moving my whoooooooole body and bringing my chin above the bar.  BUT, I was wrong.  The lats are the major player in the pull up.   Huh, good to know.

The lat: largest muscle in the back. http://justanotherrep.co.uk

The lat: largest muscle in the back.
http://justanotherrep.co.uk

After the first day I was able to sneak in a bit-of-a-chat after hours with the trainers and got to know them a bit more on the personal side.  Even though their knowledge of fitness, their gorgeous physics and their crossfit-godliness didn’t change the fact that they are actually human.  They arrive late, talk about family, take pictures of a dreary skyline and follow the lost into the subways.  Totally. Rad. Humans.

The second day flew by ridiculously fast.  We went through the muscle up, paralettes and handstands but my favorite was finding a modification to the ring dip.  I’ll be using a lot of what I learned in my garage gym, but the ring dip with the heels on a box feels like an epiphany!

I wish I could go through page after page of the notes I took, but this cert did cost a pretty penny.  If you’d like to feel yourself do a ring dip, reverse lever, planche hand stand, or a muscle up- these two days will get you there.

About a week before this cert I created my first crossfit goal: 3 unassisted kipping pull ups in a row.  After what I learned this weekend I really want to change my goal to a strict pull up.  But, I’m not going to.  Instead, I’m going to add the strict pull up as a goal.  Its all about the progression.

Crossfit Gymnastics Cert

Crossfit Gymnastics Cert

Tootles.
jess